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New Letters: February 4, 2014 to February 26th

Beginning with an e-mailed letter on April 28th, twenty two letters were received from young people in the far off land of Caperston. Twenty one were from a young man named Mattpaul and the last, received on December 10th, from his best friend, Huchfee.

Much has been happening in Caperston involving the teachings of a "prophet" named Chi-hay-su and the imprisonment of the writer of the first 21 letters, Mattpaul. The book, The Chest of Visions, records each of these letters, telling the story of Caperston, while reflecting on the way of life of its inhabitants. Now the story continues.

January Letters

On January 14th Huchfee reported that the situation in Caperston is of developing chaos. Three days ago Mattpaul's father called him in and stated that he did not know whom he can trust.

On January 16th Marcus asked us all to pray for the Mountain Youth in particular because they are angry as they remember when Mattpaul spoke with them a few weeks before his death.

Then, on January 27th Jonas reported that Chihaysu had just left for the desert. It is an area that no one from Caperston has gone. He took water, a sleeping blanket and some books.

On the same day Huchfee reports that Pontos plans to give Zester a new position - to supervise the palace guard and the police force of Caperston. Zester will now report directly to Pontos himself. All the Caperston youth were surprised how much Pontos has elevated Zester, their classmate in school a year ago, to such a very high position in Caperston.

In the same letter it was learned that Mattpaul's father asked Pontos if Huchfee could replace Zester as his special "Youth representative". Pontos is considering this request.

Lastly, Laura from New York, in the letter published on January 30th, asks Huchfee for the name of Mattpaul's father. He is such an important man in Caperston yet all the letters simply refer to him as "my friend's father".

Click January Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in January 2014.


for correspondence received and published in March 2014.

Click March Letters

February 4th

Dear Alex and Laura,

Amazing things are happening. This is a long story and I can only forward a little at a time so it will be sent in three separate messages on three separate days.

Jonas returned with a long story to tell. He stated that he had much difficulty finding Chihaysu in the desert. After travelling all day Jonas sat down as it was getting dark. As twilight came he spotted a flickering light. He walked towards it and discovered a small campsite to the north. As he approached he realized Chihaysu was there.

They greeted each other and Jonas shared the information about Chihaysu's mother. Chihaysu was saddened. He and Jonas prayed for her. Since it was late they lay down to rest. The next morning Chihaysu stated that he felt compelled to remain one more day in the desert as he became convinced, while praying, that an important revelation was coming. He and Jonas had a quick meal and prayed for Jonas' safe return. Chihaysu gave him a written message for his mother and then Jonas left.

Jonas left and after walking for some time sat down to rest. He checked his pack for Chihaysu's message and could not find it. Since it was for his mother, Jonas returned to Chihaysu. When he came near to where Chihaysu was meditating, he stopped. Off in the distance he saw an animal coming towards Chihaysu, an animal he had never seen. It was like a large goada but with longer legs, a bushy tail and a much longer nose. Seated on its back was a tall woman with long black hair that hung to her waist. The front of her black hair was colored gold and she was able to ride this beast which was running quite quickly towards Chihaysu. It ran faster than the fastest mobile in Caperston.

Jonas told us he stopped walking and hid behind a large rock to see what was happening. The woman slowed her beast as she approached Chihaysu, then stopped and stepped off the animal. In response Chihaysu rose from his seated position.

Jonas stated that the desert was without noise so he could hear all the words of their conversation. The woman greeted Chihaysu by name and introduced herself as Cle-as. She stated that she was the princess of the kingdom of Romas, which was further east at the other side of the desert. Cle-as stated that her spies had been following the events in Caperston and had told her of a wise and handsome man who had motivated the people to end the inequality between the Valley People and the Mountain People. Cle-as stated that she was impressed. Chihaysu asked how she knew the language of Caperston so well and Cle-as responded, "It is not I who learned your language. Rather your people in Caperstan are speaking the language of Romas".

I am sending you a sketch by Jonas of Cle-as arriving on the large goada. Hope it arrives. The story will be continued in a day or two.

Huchfee


Join the Correspondence!

If you would like to write to Huchfee of Caperston and/or to Alex of New York, it is simple. Write your thoughts in an e-mail to Timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org and your thoughts will be published in this story and probably responded to by Huchfee and/or by Alex.

February 5th

Dear Alex and Laura,

Cle-as then told Chihaysu an amazing story. The Kingdom of Romas had existed for over 100 generations. About 25 generations ago a small group of Romasians asked their ruler if they could journey across the desert to find a "New World". They had been farmers working on the ruler's land for a salary and wanted a chance to own their own land. The ruler, noting that the population of Romas was rapidly growing, agreed. These people journeyed across the desert, settled in the mountains and their descendants became the mountain people of today. Four generations passed and a group of Romasian scientists with a few wealthy allies attempted to overthrow the ruler. They were defeated and condemned to die. However, an appeal was made to spare their lives as there had never been an execution in Romas. The ruler agreed and sent them across the desert on their own. Upon crossing the desert they observed there were already settlements in the mountains so they continued, settling to the southwest of Lake Gael. These criminals are the ancestors of the Valley People. So all of you, Mountain and Valley people, are ancestors of my kingdom, Romas.

Chihaysu asked her to sit. Jonas stated that he could see that Cle-as was muscular, yet slender, and very beautiful. She dressed modestly, not as you would imagine a princess would dress. What stood out was her hair. It was long, down to her waist with steaks of gold above her forehead. In the back it was clasped with a silver clip on which was attached a red star. She told Chihaysu that her father was dying and, as his only child, she was the heir to his throne. Her father wants her to wed as she cannot become queen after his death without a husband. It is the law of Romas.

Cle-as could choose any man she wished and she had heard from her spies of a wise man in Caperston and it is a wise man that she was seeking. She stated, "Now I have found my wise man and he is handsome as well as being wise. Between your wisdom and the kingdom I shall inherit, we can unite not only the Mountain People and the Valley People but all of Romas. I shall be the queen and you shall be my king." Chihaysu did not know what to say. It was clear he was impressed with Cle-as. She continued, "I know you need time to think. Let us rest." She looked at the blanket and the rock next to it on which his head rested the previous night. "Is this where you slept my dear man?" Chihaysu responded affirmatively. Cle-as continued, "Come rest your head on my lap. It is more comfortable than this hard rock". A few moments later he lay by her side, resting his head on her lap. She occasionally brushed her hand through his hair.

Still to be continued.

Huchfee

February 10th

Nothing more happened for several minutes, then Chihaysu sat up. He asked Cle-as, "My new friend, Cle-as, do you know of the God whom I serve?" Cle-as replied, "I have been waiting for you to tell me of him".

Chihaysu then shared his story: the chest of visions he received, the prayer which led to Dawnling being healed, the prayer that caused the rain to cease during the contest with the scientist and the death of Mattpaul. Cle-as listened intently. She replied, "So you feel there is a ruler named God over all of us, you, me, Caperston, Romas?"

"I do, Cle-as", Chihaysu answered.

Cle-as paused for a few seconds, then replied, "Then your God will be my God as surely as you shall be my husband." Chihaysu moved a small distance away, then asked, "Cle-as, do you know what prayer is?"

"I have heard that it is powerful", she answered. He then asked her to pray with him. He bowed his head as did she. Chihaysu asked God to hear his prayers and the prayers of "my new friend, Cle-as". He continued with his head bowed in silent prayer. Cle-as remained silent, head slightly bowed, eyes closed but restless. Jonas stated that he did not think she was actually praying. He also stated that the moment moved him and he quickly sketched them as they prayed. We are sending you his sketch.

When he finished, lifting his head, Cle-as spoke, "I must return to my country. You have asked me to pray and I have done so. Here is what I ask of you. First, you need to return to your mother. Ask people to join you to observe what you will do. Look your mother in the eye and tell her that you will pray for her and that she must believe that God will make her better. We in Romas have discovered that AHT is a disease of both the body and of the mind. If as diseased person truly believes that he or she will get better, then the mind will convince the body to fight and defeat the disease. Let the people see you take these actions so that they will follow you."

My second request is this: "believe in your heart that your God wishes you to be my king and our alliance to be the restoration of our planet. Commit yourself to work with me to make this a reality. Lastly, I ask you to pledge that you will love no one in this world more than you love me. In return, I pledge that your God will be my God, my dear Chihaysu". She stood up and he did likewise. She then stroked his cheek gently with her hand. She blew him a kiss, climbed onto her beast and rode away to the East.

Chihaysu watched as Cle-as rode away then sat down. He appeared deep in thought. So Jonas decided not to disturb him. He left him, returning to Caperston to share this surprising story. We all await Chihaysu´┐Żs return.

You asked about the name of Mattpaul's father. Mattpaul always called him "father" and I continued to do so. His actual name is Paved, pronounced "Pav-ed". I will try to use this name when corresponding in the future with you.

Huchfee

February 22th

Dear Huchfee ... just when we think the drama in Caperston cannot become more complicated, we hear of Chihaysu's encounter with Cle-as. Wow! We await your next letter with great interest.

In our world our lives are so different. We meet every two weeks as a youth group at church where we enjoy each other's company and do activities that challenge our faith. We all have a difficult time praying, particularly out loud in the group. After youth group we go back home to our lives of family, friends and school. Some are on sports teams and, when I am playing basketball, the success of the team seems to be the most important thing in my life.

All of you in Caperston are showing us that following Chihaysu's teachings and regularly taking your challenges to God in prayer are the important things. Thank you for inspiring us.

Alex


February 26th

Hi Alex ... Before I tell you of the new events in Caperston, I want to ask a question. You often refer to something called a church. What is a church? Sometimes it seems to simply be a building in which to gather and other times it seems to be a holy place. We are interested in this thing you call a church. Chihaysu returned to us and immediately went to his mother's home. He did not bring anyone with him, not even Jonas. We only know of this because he spoke with Jonas and Marcus the next day.

Chihaysu told them that his mother asked him not to pray for her. She is ready to join her husband in the House of the Dead. She asked Chihaysu to ask the authorities if this is possible. She told him that she believes in God but also believes that she should be with her husband. Chihaysu shared that this is a time of trial for him. His faith is being tested as never before and his days in the desert were revealing. He said nothing to us of Cleas and we, of course, said nothing to him. He asked us to pray for Caperston, for his mother and for himself. He stated that he left his compos at home because he did not want any interruptions during his time of meditation. We will meet again in a week and I am worried about Chihaysu. He is not the same since Mattpaul's death.

Mattpaul's father called me to his office. Pontos told him he can use me for special projects but he is withholding a decision to make me the "Youth Representative". I am sensing that Pav-ed is becoming more accepting of Chihaysu's teachings but he still refuses to believe in the God Chihaysu has spoken about.

Huchfee

The story continues click March Letters for the entirety of the correspondence received and published in March 2014.


New Book Review from Goodreads


Jun 16, 2013 ... Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite rated it 5 of 5 stars

"The Chest of Visions: Secrets of Caperston" by Tim Ferguson is a well-reasoned, well-written, and intelligently conceived allegory for use as a Christian Youth Group Study Guide. It is bound to be considered quite "awesome" by the Youth Groups which use it, just as it is bound to be considered controversial or even blasphemous by older generations, which often comprise church leadership.

However, if it is recognized for what it is - an allegory - it should be seen as no more controversial than "Pilgrims Progress", which no doubt faced a lot of opposition when it was first released. It should also be conceded that ANYTHING which helps youth understand the Gospel better is a good tool to be used for that purpose.

"The Chest of Visions" is crafted as a totally new concept for involving today's youth in Bible study. Borrowing from the contemporary popularity of Science Fiction and Fantasy fiction novels, comics and movies, the author has devised a correspondence across parallel universes between several teen-aged individuals on two different planets in two different universes.

The correspondences are prompted by the appearance on the planet Caperston of what amounts to a missionary, spreading the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. At first glance, one might assume the missionary is intended to imply an appearance of Jesus on another planet, by which He intends to extend salvation to the residents thereof. That is NOT the case, however. The missionary, Chi-hay-su, repeats a number of Jesus' sermons, and selects a number of "followers" who seem as if they are meant to fill the role of the Apostles, but in reality Chi-hay-su has HEARD the Gospel himself, believed it, and is doing what he believes is the most efficient approach to reach his entire planet FOR GOD.

If read in its entirety, and considered prayerfully, "Chest of Visions" should be acknowledged as a significant step forward in Youth Group Study Guides. It has my stamp of approval, for whatever that's worth.

For more information on "The Chest of Visions",

please click: Letters from the Past